From History and Policy, John Tosh (Roehampton): Why History Matters; Ludmilla Jordanova (King's): How History Matters Now; and John Arnold (Birkbeck): Why History Matters - and Why Medieval History Also Matters. Government leaders fret about ongoing conflicts and economic crisis, but few admit that a climbing population exacerbates any problems. A review of The End of Ethics in a Technological Society by Lawrence E. Schmidt and Scott Marratto. Who said students today were apathetic? They have simply found new ways to protest, and new targets. The first chapter from Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War by Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn. A review of Screening Sex by Linda Williams. Discounts on democracy in Europe: Who should determine how one self-determines? The Nature-Nurture Debate, Redux: Genetic research finally makes its way into the thinking of sociologists. Johann Hari reviews American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau. Who Would Jesus Smack Down? Seattle minister Mark Driscoll is out to transform American evangelicalism with his macho conception of Christ and neo-Calvinist belief in the total depravity of man. An interview with Ronald Aronson, author of Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided.

From New York, a special "All New" issue: Of the many weird things happening right now, not all are bad; and a few ideas to make our basketball-loving, Internet-using, furtively smoking new POTUS feel more comfortable. From The New Yorker, a review of Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War by Thomas G. Andrews; hack attack: Liberal blogs get sabotaged; and baby food: If breast is best, why are women bottling their milk? Obama’s worst Pakistan nightmare: The biggest fear is not jihadists taking control of the border regions; it’s what happens if the country’s nuclear arsenal falls into the wrong hands. From RAND Review, a special issue on Twelve Suggestions for the New U.S. President. Are Israel and Hamas committing war crimes in Gaza? Anthony Dworkin wants to know. Matthew Yglesias on how the US should be involved in Gaza. From Wired, here are 12 elegant examples of evolution. Of Monkeys and Utopia: The state of nature is not a state of pacifism. A review of Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art by Alexander Nehamas. What your loneliness is telling you: New science says being lonely speeds aging; old philosophy says the holiday blues are a signal to examine and change your life. Help Wanted: Leader of the Free World — can Obama fill the bill or have we all moved on?

From World Affairs, Christopher Hitchens writes to Mr. President Barack Obama; left behind: Russell Jacoby on the exploits of BHL; and H. R. McMaster on The Human Element: when gadgetry becomes strategy. In the coming era of consumer genetics, your DNA will have much to tell you about the biological bases of your health, your physique and even your personality — but will this knowledge really amount to self-knowledge? From Guernica, for Brazilian-born artist and modern-day trickster Vik Muniz, subverting his own images is all part of the game; and the daughter of a Nazi soldier recalls the spark and fizzle of her tenth New Year’s Eve. The Legend of Master Legend: With his trusty sidekick, the Ace, he fights to vanquish crime and defend the helpless, if he doesn't get evicted first — behind the mask of the Real Life Superheroes. From THES, youth is never wasted on the young: A misspent adulthood is a much greater waste than ill-spent adolescence; and more things in heaven and earth, Horatio: Employers have discovered that a mind sharpened by the study of philosophy is ideal for today's workplace. An interview with Sebastian Horsley, author of Dandy in the Underworld. From Vox, an article on the lender of last resort of the 21st century. How the ongoing transitions in journalism may affect the First Amendment's "marketplace of ideas". A review of The Letters of Allen Ginsberg.

From Vanity Fair, at a lavish conference in Monaco, the game was guessing which big private-equity firm will be first to go bust, but the smoke and mirrors that wrecked the global economy might actually save the likes of K.K.R. and Blackstone. A review of Globalization: The Irrational Fear That Someone in China Will Take Your Job by Bruce C. Greenwald and Judd Kahn. An article on Somalia as symbol of the decaying world order. An interview with Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East Initiative at the New America Foundation, on Israel and Gaza. When groups don’t think: Collaboration, done right, produces dazzling results — so why is it often disastrous? A review of Gorbachev: Man of the Twentieth Century? by Mark Sandle. A review of Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment by Peter Hallward. Puttin’ Off the Ritz: An article on the new austerity in publishing. A narrative in crayon and collage: How a troubled outcast folk artist found posthumous redemption. A review of Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe. A review of Hugo Slim's Killing Civilians: Method, Madness, and Morality in War. The Era of Big Government is starting over: Will the Obama administration transform American constitutionalism in the way that FDR did? The first chapter from Thucydides: An Introduction for the Common Reader by Perez Zagorin.

From The Wilson Quarterly, an essay on The New Kindergarten: The case for universal pre-kindergarten isn’t as strong as it seems; a review of Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius by Hans C. Ohanian; and in the digital age, will the OED remain a cultural cornerstone? A look at the top five issues facing the United Nations in 2009. The Obama tide lifted some clear winners: James Wolcott on The Good, the Bad, and Joe Lieberman. Michael Kinsley on the Bush Presidency, eight years later. From THES, a review of The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History by Eleonora Belfiore and Oliver Bennett; and a review of Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory and Mind by Paul R. McHugh. From Mental Floss, an article on 6 cases of shamelessly false advertising; here are 3 maps that get people worked up; and the stories behind 20 Muppet favorites. On second thought: Why being wrong can be a good thing. A review of Hollywood Under Siege: Martin Scorsese, the Religious Right, and the Culture Wars by Thomas R. Lindlof. For scholars, a combustible question: Was Christ real? Conservatives are getting down and dirty to spread their social agenda. Playboy, like its founder, is getting rickety — a lament for a heyday more glorious than we knew. An American at Cambridge: Hot Victorian Sex!

From The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, a special issue on The Vanity of the Philosopher: From Equality to Hierarchy in Post-Classical Economics by Sandra Peart and David M. Levy. Here are tips for budding politicians on how to avoid embarrassment on Facebook. Iceland after the Fall: Down with the man, up with the potato! Out of sight, out of mind: Why the president should come face to face with public criticism. A review of Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming — Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth by Christopher Booker and Richard North. Deep Throat meets data mining: In the nick of time, the digital revolution comes to democracy's rescue — and, perhaps, journalism's. How the split between creation care's leaders and its grassroots activists is dictating the future of the green evangelical movement. A study finds that not all self-help books are created equal — some are actually pretty good. Is this "the end of neoliberalism"? Sorry, not yet. Small, patriotic pieces of cardboard are common coin for US military airmen. Jan Freeman on the language dustbin: Some advice doesn't age well. A review of How To Live: A Search for Wisdom From Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) by Henry Alford. Boring, web encyclopaedia management stuff — everyone keeps their cool, except for on one topic: Garfield.

From Human Affairs, a special issue on The Ideals of the Good Life, including Richard Shusterman (FAU): The Good Life, The Examined Life, and the Embodied Life; Erich Mistrík (Comenius): Pseudo-Concrete Ideals of a Good Life; Blanka Sulavíkova (SAS): The Good Life and the Ideal of Flexibility; and L'Uboslava Sejcova (Comenius): Body Dissatisfaction. A review of books on human rights and humanitarian intervention. After Bush: E.J. Dionne, Jr. on why 2009 finally marks the beginning of the 21st century. The sentimentality of crowds: Charities wonder if giving donors control over their donations makes for wise policy. Online v. print reading: which one makes us smarter? Not-So-Lonely Planet: A photograph of the earthrise taken on Christmas Eve 1968 provided a new perspective on the thing that all humanity shares. More on The Choice of Hercules by AC Grayling. A review of Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sport by Barbara Smit. More on Reborn: Early Diaries 1947-1964 by Susan Sontag (and more and more; and more from Bookforum). An interview with Russ Roberts, author of The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity. Welcome to the coldest town on earth: Oymyakon, Siberia, is bracing for temps as low as -90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

From Monthly Review, more on Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. Five decades of revolution: Waiting for a new dawn in Havana. A review of A Disastrous History of the World by John Withington. Why not start your weekend on Wednesday? There's no need to preach the gospel of leisure — most of us work less than our parents did. A review of The Criminal Brain: Understanding Biological Theories of Crime by Nicole Rafter. Houses of Pain: When did declining home prices become politically intolerable? Michael Berube reviews Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture by Alan Sokal. A review of Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon by Nancy C. Lutkehaus. Peter Singer on the tragic cost of being unscientific. Congratulations, Obama — here's your decay curve: Researchers analyze the productivity and popularity of new U.S. presidents. More and more on Shakespeare and Modern Culture by Marjorie Garber. From Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria on writing the rules for a new world; and Larry Diamond on doing democracy promotion right. Expanding liberty's reach: Justice Stephen Field and the libertarian legacy of the 14th Amendment. Explosives and giant machines are destroying Appalachian peaks to obtain coal; in a West Virginia town, residents and the industry fight over a mountain's fate. An “anti-energy” drink’s novel image: chic — or shameful?

From Folio, a cover story on why would anyone launch a print magazine today? A review of The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America by Steven Johnson. A review of The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance: Skeptics, Libertines, and Opera by Edward Muir. Ronald Bailey on exposing Obama's genome — and Oprah Winfrey's, Brad Pitts', and yours. If you can draw, then you should be in school: The case for making American universities into patrons of the arts. From Scientific American, does exercise really make you healthier? Shankar Vedantam on how high-status criminals face greatest public wrath. Reading isn't fundamental: How to help your child learn to read. After decades of discouraging setbacks, plasma physics has made jaw-dropping recent progress — could it save the world? More on Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander. Searching for Jesse Camp: Personal desperation led to a quick, shallow obsession with MTV’s most unlikely (and annoying) star. An interview with Salman Rushdie: "Provoking people is in my DNA". A review of The Forsaken: From the Great Depression to the Gulags: Hope and Betrayal in Stalin's Russia by Tim Tzouliadis. From TED, Susan Blackmore on memes and "temes"; and Stephen Hawking is asking big questions about the universe. 

From MR, how should the Left criticize Obama? Gregory W. Esteven investigates. From Cracked, an article on why America is still awesome. Gigonomics, now rock bands must sing for their supper: It used to be all about records, but now the music business revolves around gigs. Tim Wu reviews The Future of the Internet (And How to Stop It) by Jonathan Zittrain. What we now think of as the picture of American masculinity is attributable in large part to J.C. Leyendecker — who? Republicans are blinded by love: Lefties just don't have the same feeling about America as the hard right does. Sex on the Beach: Is Western decadence a Molotov Cocktail? A review of Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew D Blechman. The mail-order catalog is dead — all hail the mail-order catalog: An interview with Robin Cherry, author of Catalog: The Illustrated History of Mail Order Shopping. A review of Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language by Abdelfattah Kilito. From n+1, John Barry on not being invited to speak at panel discussions; and an article on The People of the Magazine. A look at how hunting is driving "evolution in reverse". Bourbon’s Beauty: An ode to a distinctly American drink. It’s no longer just guide dogs for blind people — service animals now include monkeys for quadriplegics, parrots for psychotics and at least one assistance duck.